Like Donald Rumsfeld, Known and Unknown pulls no punches. With the same directness that defined his career in public service, Rumsfeld's memoir is filled with previously undisclosed details and insights about the Bush administration, 9/11, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It also features Rumsfeld's unique and often surprising observations on eight decades of history: his experiences growing up during the Depression and World War II, his time as a Naval aviator; his service in Congress starting at age 30; his cabinet-level positions in the Nixon and Ford White Houses; his assignments in the Reagan administration; and his years as a successful business executive in the private sector.
Rumsfeld addresses the challenges and controversies of his illustrious career, from the unseating of the entrenched House Republican leader in 1965, to helping the Ford administration steer the country away from Watergate and Vietnam, to bruising battles over transforming the military for the 21st century, to the war in Iraq, to confronting abuse at Abu Ghraib and allegations of torture at Guantanamo Bay.
Along the way, he offers his plainspoken, first-hand views and often humorous and surprising anecdotes about some of the world's best-known figures, from Margaret Thatcher to Saddam Hussein, from Henry Kissinger to Colin Powell, from Elvis Presley to Dick Cheney, and each American president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush.
Rumsfeld relies not only on his memory but also on previously unreleased and recently declassified documents. Thousands of pages of documents not yet seen by the public will be made available on an accompanying website.
Known and Unknown delivers both a fascinating narrative for today's listeners and an unprecedented resource for tomorrow's historians.
Donald Rumsfeld is donating his proceeds from sales of Known and Unknown to military charities supported by the Rumsfeld Foundation.
©2011 Donald Rumsfeld (P)2011 Penguin Audio
I told a liberal friend of mine that I was listening to this book -- and got the predictable look of horror. I cannot understand why we live in a day when the memoirs of a person who played such a pivotal roll in our history are rejected out of hand. Give the book a break. This is not a political hack. It is not only real history, it will be a source document for historians long after we are dead and gone. Be intellectually honest enough to read/listen to both sides -- not for some polemical reason, but just to learn what really happened. And, even if you don't agree with how Mr. Rumsfeld interpreted his own historical experiences, you can at least understand how he saw them. Then, knowing will make you more informed, and that's what our country needs -- an informed electorate.
His personal perspective in his own voiceI enjoyed his account of his grow
I enjoyed his account of his growing up years, giving us enough information to observe the development of his character without self aggrandizement. I experienced the same years and his account of familiar events gave me a better perspective since he viewed them close up.
His voice. It is well known, so his experiences must be heard in that public voice. Also his "matter-of-fact" tone.
No. It was a personal history, not meant to move, but to inform.
No. I did not always agree with the policies he espoused, but overall he was a good public servant.
This is how big decisions are made.
Decision Points by George Bush.
I loved Rumsfeld's description of his time as the Chief of staff in the White House. This is an unobserved position by the public, but it is the most important position in the US Government.
Listen to the book and understand our decisions to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Understand how government actually works. Listen to this book and Cheney's and you will have a clear understanding of the bureaucratic decision making process in the White House.
This comprehensive autobiography (well read by the author) reveals a lot about American government from the 1960s until 2006, mostly because Rumsfeld was close to the action for most of that period.
Rumsfeld doesn't spend as much time trying to set the record straight as he does just telling his story. He does do a good job explaining the Bush administration's defense policy/strategy, better even than when the administration was putting those policies in place.
If you are interested in recent American history, this book is worth reading. As a bonus, hear the story of how Rumsfeld refused to hire Dick Cheney - and then launched his career.
Excellent history from an incredibly capable manager and public servant. This man understands and demonstrates that strategic direction flows from a myriad of individual details. He is rare in that he finds a passion for both.
This book takes you into his thinking and the information on which he based his decisions without being defensive or trying to convince: It is what it is, here is what it was at the time, and here is what that led me to do.
His attention to detail and commitment to thoroughness gets a bit tedious at times for the casual reader, but I suspect future leaders and students will be glad the details of so many incidents are included. His assessment of others is pointed and frank but respectful.
This man has been vilified in the press. Read this and decide for yourself: villainous tyrant or patriot to whom the US owes much for his decades of public service?
I certainly am glad that I listened to this because I would not have gotten through reading the words. It was interesting, more in some parts. Ultimately, too many international relations-type issues for me. My respect for this man has increased.
I adore the controversial, feather ruffling, serious efficiency of Don Rumsfeld. He wants what's best for the country - and what WORKS for the modern military. Not the turf-protecting, status-quo maintaining, profligate ($225 million annually to monitor Soviet submarines in Iceland... long after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Took 3 years to authorize the elimiation of the waste!) The obfuscation caused by pointless beauracracy torpidly plodding along in a swiftly shifting contemporary battlefield, he reveals and lays out the hassle of dealing with entrenched D.C, ass-covering self interest. All in addition to inside scuttlebutt on 9/11 and his actions during the attack on the Pentagon. A special pleasure hearing it in his voice.
I highly recommend this book. I never knew Mr. Rumsfeld was educated at Princeton. The Democrat's surely won't tell you this fact. For all the criticizime that President Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld took and still take, I am amazed of how much of their policies are still in placed today.....
50 chapters is always a little daunting. I couldn't write 50 on a topic. The dichotomy that is the premise is good. We know that something is unknown or probably unknowable when me must take an action. However, waiting for information may be costly or even futile - the better information may never occur. Decisions must be made. In economics it is uncertainty rather than risk.
Words we use matter..Every once in a while a Great leader is born. To an ordinary American family. And over a lifetime of leadership we're seeing how important this person was to our history! Secretary Rumsfeld is one of the people! This is a living history book!
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